As the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement gains momentum, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see at least two internal Jewish community conversations in which this painful, volatile issue with was debated with intelligence and mutual respect.
Last month, the New York-based org Jews Say No sponsored a debate/discussion featuring Israeli activist Yonatan Shapira, Birthright Unplugged director Hannah Mermelstein, Forward editor JJ Goldberg and J Street board member Kathleen Peratis. It takes thirteen YouTube clips to see the entire program, but I highly recommend watching it from beginning to end. I found it informative, intelligent, passionate – and ultimately inspiring for the way a Jewish gathering could discuss such a potentially divisive subject so gracefully. (Click above for the first clip, then surf to the Jews Say No website to watch the next twelve.)
For its part, Tikkun Magazine held its own Jewish roundtable on BDS featuring Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner, Jewish Voice for Peace director Rebecca Vilkomerson; Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, founder of Shalom Shomer Network for Jewish Nonviolence, J Street president Jeremy Ben Ami; and Israeli Shministit (refuser) Maya Wind. The entire conversation can only be accessed by purchasing the July/August edition of Tikkun Magazine, but you can read key excerpts at the JVP website.